Bipolar Trucker Faces Hate Crime and Life in Prison For Stabbing Black Man at Truck Stop
Eugene, OR – A Colorado trucker is now facing life in prison after a federal grand jury indicted him on a hate crime charge this week.
On Thursday, a federal grand jury in Eugene returned a one-count indictment charging Nolan Levi Strauss, 26, with a federal hate crime involving an attempt to kill.
Transportation Nation Network (TNN) first reported the heinous incident which occurred at an Oregon truck stop late last year.
According to authorities, the alleged crime took place on the morning of Saturday, December 21, 2019, at approximately 9:40 a.m. inside an Arby’s restaurant within a Pilot Travel Center located at 653 E. Idaho Ave. along Interstate 84 near the Idaho border.
Seated in the lobby of the Arby’s restaurant was a 48-year-old African-America man identified as Ronnell Hughes.
Hughes was there that day to provide final documentation for a pending job application at the Arby’s.
Prosecutors said that unprovoked and without warning, Strauss approached Hughes from behind and stabbed him in the neck multiple times.
Following a struggle for the knife, Hughes was able to free himself and Strauss was subdued and detained by store employees.
The Ontario Police Department (OPD) was immediately called to the scene where investigators said they discovered Hughes “bleeding everywhere.”
Following an initial investigation, OPD said “the motive for the attack leans heavily towards a racially-motivated crime.”
According to court documents, when asked by a store employee why he attacked the man, Strauss stated he did so because the man “was black, and I don’t like black people.”
The stabbing resulted in two lacerations to the victim’s neck.
Hughes was life-flighted to Boise, ID for emergency surgery and thankfully survived.
Strauss was subsequently charged in Malheur County court with attempted second-degree murder, first-degree assault, first-degree bias crime and unlawful use of a weapon.
Malheur County prosecutors said Strauss, who was driving for Salem, OR-based May Trucking Company at the time of the incident, has a history of mental illness.
Court documents in that case show Strauss was diagnosed with bipolar disorder in 2016 and admitted he hadn’t been taking his prescribed medication in the days leading up to the attack.
Strauss will make his first appearance in federal court on October 19, 2020.
If convicted, he faces a maximum sentence of life in federal prison.